In Dreams

It should probably be stated I don’t ‘do’ poetry.  I love it, but I have never been able to produce it.  I felt daring and decided to step out of my little comfort zone on this one…sorry. ha!

 

 

He walks into the room

And causes electricity to spark

So fierce it will cause my doom

Or shock me to life out of this dark

 

His eyes a stormy blue, his lips so full

He sees through me to my core, I’m so weak

Unable to breathe, I try to play it cool

As he brushes his hand against my cheek

 

He smells of sandalwood and wind

His skin is warm to the touch

In his arms, I will easily bend

How can I need him this much?

 

My knees begin to quake

My chest rises, I know what he’s after

From my dream, I slowly wake

As I laughed my nervous laughter

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Slowing down

Image courtesy of freeimageslive.com
Image courtesy of freeimageslive.com

 

I confess that when I first saw this picture prompt, I was elated.  I was rushed with feelings from childhood birthday parties.  I was fully prepared to spit out witty reminiscences of happy days of youth spent drawing with sidewalk chalk, balloon tosses, eating strawberry shortcake cupcakes, and visiting Disney World, but I digress.  You see, my 36th birthday is next week.

I’ve heard often during the passing of another year, ‘it beats the alternative’, and indeed it does.  However, this year is one year closer to leaving my mid-thirties.  I’m not ready to leave them just yet, I’m not sure I’ve appreciated them well enough and I know I didn’t get to know them like I had hoped to.  I thought we’d be better friends before we parted.  I feel like we hardly know each other at all.

Oh, how I remember my 20s.  We became close friends, there weren’t these broken years I’ve come to know in my 30s.  My 20s were just my 20s, no early, mid, or late, just them and all their youthful glorious fun.  Hell, it wasn’t until last year that I learned my 30s came with sections.  I felt so ill prepared.  I would have tried to hang onto the early ones a little longer and certainly would have mentally prepared for the mids.

All that’s left are the lates.  At least I know now not to screw that up, too.  Oh, I’ll be bitter for a minute, I’m a woman and that’s what we do – or that’s what I do any way.  After the bitterness I’m going to get to know them, take them out on the town more often, compliment them and tell them they’re pretty.  I might even try to give them some healthier options, slim them up a bit, maybe go on more walks.  The lates and I are going to be besties.  Plenty of movies, laughs, and slow dances, it’s what the lates are made for, I think.  Though, I’m not really sure since I’ve yet to introduce myself, but I will and I hope they will be as grand as their predecessors.

All I know is I hope to slow down a bit and savor them like an old bottle of wine.

 

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From a child’s eye

Images courtesy of freeimages.co.uk
Images courtesy of freeimages.co.uk

I was 12 years old and my brother was graduating from Navy basic training in San Diego, CA.  I remember his going away party like it was yesterday.   This party, though, was one for the books.  We had a 3-floor split level home and one of my dad’s best friends brought a gas station sized American Flag to drape in front of our house. There were so many people, so many laughs, and so many tears.  I don’t really remember the day he left, but I remember the sadness that overtook the party at the end when everyone wished him well.

Fast forward 8 weeks and my parents let me know we were going to be flying to California to watch him graduate and spend a week touring.  California!  This was the summer of 1990, people!  Just after the movie, Pretty Woman was released.  You could imagine my excitement to see Rodeo Drive!  Of course, that was before I realized San Diego was not at all near Rodeo Drive.  (My dad, being the awesome man he is, later got us to Beverly Hills and the Hollywood sign for a day anyway)

After his graduation and after I melted over the fact that I used the same bathroom in the USO building from the scene in Top Gun where Maverick followed Charlie, my dad wanted to visit Mexico.  Wow!  Mexico? Another country?  This was quickly turning into the best vacation ever.

It wasn’t a long drive, I remember, and we ended up at what reminded me as the toll booths on our highways back in GA.  We go in and Dad gets us to Tijuana, Mexico.  Naturally, I had no way of knowing what to expect.

My dad wanted to go to the shops in the town to barter for items on which he knew he could get great deals.  We ended up going down a small open tunnel that smelled of urine, rotting food, and God only knows what else.  I was scared beyond any of my monsters under the bed imaginations I had up until now.  I remember women and men off to the side-eyeing us.  Luckily, my father stands 6’4″ so no one really talked to us.  Except this little girl who couldn’t have been more than 4 years old and there she stood with her coffee can looking at us with these huge sad, brown eyes.  My heart broke.  This was the first time I saw real pain and real sorrow.  She was hungry.  She was poor.  After much begging and pleading, I got my dad to give her some money.

The vacation ended up being very wonderful, but there are so many times in my life where I find myself looking back at that little girl in that tunnel, and for an instant, my problems seem so small.

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Unmasked

I’ve gone through some life changes recently as I suppose we all do at some point or another.  I really wish we could go through some of them in our sleep, like a Windows update.  For some odd years (that’s the southern way of saying I don’t really know how many) I was battling a form of depression, or so I assume because at the time I refused to believe it or admit it.  It wasn’t until I read the handy check-list at the doctor’s office that I became aware I met all those ‘symptoms’.  Well, shit.

That was about the time I started my first blog.  It was anonymous and I created an extra email for it, it was where I was going to vent and find myself and get over this stupid bout of weepies that I didn’t truly believe I had.  It worked, for the most part, until I had yet another identity crisis and had to readjust myself again.  Between trying to find myself and what my meaning was and the dismay of no one ever reading my blog I cracked.  I deleted that blog and left the blogging world.

A few years later I felt a little more confident in myself, or so I thought.  I created yet another blog.  One that some of you readers (if they remember me at all) will remember it as It’s All A Bit Random.  Slowly, but surely, I went through the same thing as the one before it.  Another deleted blog and another feeling of utter failure and loneliness formed.  This recovery didn’t take quite as long as the last and I tried my hand at it again.  This blog is my 3rd and hopefully final blog.

I had some issues starting it again; I still wanted anonymity and wanted a place for me, just me to be me without any judgment, but something was missing.  I continued to write and continued to feel this void.  Everything in my life was starting to turn around and I felt better, but the blog and I were at odds.  The blog was becoming that smelly guy on the bus who’s eyeing you with his good eye and you just want to somehow leave the bus without passing his seat.  Something had to change, quickly.  I finally realized I had to sit down and peel away the layers of who I want to be in this community and what my writing means to me.  I came to the conclusion I didn’t want to hide anymore.  I didn’t want to be afraid of judgment and I didn’t want to care what people thought of me.  So what if I was broken and on the mend, so what if my bad times caused me to lash out, so what if my opinion of world issues is different than theirs, I’m who I am dammit and I’m ok with that!

The last layer I peeled off was my mask.  My twitter is linked to my blog so I changed the contact email to my personal email, my picture to my real self, my name to my real initials, and I clicked that little button to let twitter find my contacts.  It was pretty powerful and I was pretty damn scared.  I’m still not out promoting my blog to my family and friends, but I’ve added several of them to my twitter followers where it prominently links to my blog.  I have officially come out of hiding.  It’s liberating, it’s refreshing, and it still scares the hell out of me.

 

My submission for Studio 30+

Sibling Lessons

It was Mother’s Day weekend 2006 and, as usual, we were broke.  Three kids tend to need things that take whatever small amount of savings you were hoping to keep.  It’s the name of the job, really.

After much budget finagling, The Husband was able to score a cabin in the north GA Mountains at a place that was home to a beautiful waterfall.  I had never been to the mountains, never seen a waterfall up close and personal, and never stayed in a bona-fide cabin.  The cabin came with no television, no radio, no entertainment but the nature of the land and the family who accompanied the trip.  The Eldest, 8 years old at the time, was none too pleased to go a weekend without his trusty SpongeBob fix.  After a plethora of reassurance that he would love it by the time we left, he sucked the pouty lip back in and decided to give it a try (what other choice did he have, really?)

We took to the paved trails and read signs about the nature before us.  We read how the paved trails were made of recycled tires.  We read all about the trees of the area.  Finally, we reach the bridge to admire the remarkable waterfall.  The bridge was about half way up this little section of mountain and the view was quite nice.  Naturally, I wanted a picture with my three little bundles to cherish our time together for years to come.  The Eldest went bouncing down the bridge while, sturdy as it was, my feet were a little less enthusiastic to frolic.  He ran down and back a few times before remembering his siblings and took to help me coax them onto the bridge for the picture.  The Middle took her precious time testing each board like Indiana Jones would though her bridge had no missing or rotted boards.  She made it nearly half way before she would go no farther without a trusting hand.  The Little, however, would have no part of this little venture.  He was fine just where he stood, thank you very much.

No amount of bubblegum or candy promises made him budge.  He was pretty firm for a 3 year old.  Just when The Husband and I were about to give up on the picture and just take snapshots of what we could, The Middle lent her helping hand.  It took only a few words of encouragement and an outstretched little hand to persuade him and, just as she had done, he tested each board until he was just next to the falls.  Soon he let her hand drop and turned with pure joy as he made it to the middle of the bridge.  That day not only did The Little and The Middle find trust in each other that would never really die, even now 8 years later, but The Little found the courage he would embrace everyday moving forward.

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“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
~Edmund Hillary

The ugly truth, as I see it

Soapboxes – everyone has them and here’s one of mine…

 

I am sure, by now, you’ve heard of the horrific California shooting.  If you haven’t, please go google, I’ll wait.  The twisted individual who committed these acts of violence stated he blamed the ‘cruelty’ of ‘vicious and evil’ women for his actions.  Moreover he blames his virginity for part of his hatred and that women would refuse him was shocking to him.  This man was vile and insane.  He was a misogynistic lunatic.

As with each new tragedy where the sick bastard uses a gun, the discussion comes up about more severe gun laws, mental health connections, and the like.  I don’t jump on this bandwagon at all, but I admit there’s a flaw somewhere.  Is it with gun control?  Is it mentally unstable people who purchase the guns?  Is it society and the news media?  Is it parenting?  These are the recent questions and comments I see after these events.  So, which is it?  I don’t know I don’t have the answers, just questions and my own opinions.

The recent events in California have caused the state to fight to restrict guns for people who are suspected of having mental health issues.  One report mentioned where they would like family members to be able to go to the police to warn them and then the new law would prevent them from purchasing guns.  Sure, that’s one step, but is that enough?  Is that going to fix anything?  The asshole who committed these acts of violence did so with a gun, killing 3 and injuring 13 more.  He also killed 3 with a knife.  Here in my local town, a man was recently beheaded in his home and the same happened a few years back to a young woman on a walk.  In Pennsylvania a kid went on a stabbing frenzy at a school.  Last week a 16-year-old was arrested in Oklahoma after stabbing another student.  Yesterday a young girl lost her life when her classmate stabbed her to death.  My point is these acts of violence happen all the time and with any weapon of choice.  Maybe it’s not a question of the type of weapons.

Let’s touch on the mental health issue.  Currently, unless someone is involuntarily held in a mental institution, there is nothing a family can do to stop a family member from purchasing a gun.  How do you get mentally unstable people involuntarily committed?  It’s harder than you think.  While it varies by state, usually either a court or doctor has to do it.  If you go to a court you’ll be asked some questions and they will decide if they feel there is an immediate threat, then there must be a hearing, then that person can get a second opinion, if they are declared mentally unstable.  Do you see where this would be a bit of a snag?  The family of the idiot in California went to the police who did a ‘care visit’ and didn’t find him a threat.  Obviously, this guy was a threat and obviously his family knew, but there’s not a lot that can be done quickly.  Keep in mind if the person is mentally unstable, but able to manipulate, a court or doctor or police may never be convinced they need to be detained.  It seems to be a pretty fair assumption that this part of the ‘system’ is flawed.

Now, what about society and news media?  It’s evident that the news media is covering far more than they used to 20+ years ago thanks to social media and new technology outlets allowing news to travel quickly.  I think it’s pretty clear, also, that the news media will paint any picture they want about a victim, an assailant, a business, whomever and whatever.  The most recent, in my mind, is that of Treyvon Martin who was shown in media as a 12 year-old, not a 6’2” 17 year-old.  Does that make the loss of someone’s child easier? Absolutely not!  At the end of the day he was a 17 year-old kid whose life was over way too early.  Of course it’s tragic whenever a family loses a loved one no matter the situation, but the truth of the media painting a picture, is no less true.  The media needs to be held responsible for fueling issues that their stories ignite.  However, freedom of speech is just that – freedom of speech and painting whatever picture gets the most views.

Lastly, parenting…I see many flaws in this particular system.  Parents need to step up and do their damn job.  Technology is fantastic and it’s giving us possibilities never thought of 20+ years ago, but it’s destroying the minds of our kids at the same time.  Computers, Smartphones, Tablets, Video Systems, and Televisions are NOT responsible for raising your children!!!  I am a mother.  I have every one of those items mentioned in my home.  I also, however, have restrictions set on them at all times.  To name a few, there are time limits, there are rules, and there are limitations to the types of games and movies allowed to be played or viewed.  There are 4 and 5 years between my oldest and my 2 youngest.  What we allow our nearly 17 year old to watch and play has changed as he has, but all of our rules are set based on not only age, but on what that particular child can grasp.  Do I think violent video games and movies cause all the violence we see, especially in schools?  No, obviously not – but it’s a contributing factor and you’re living in a fantasy world better than mine if you believe differently.

Parents are lazy now.  Not all, maybe not most – but enough for our country to notice the difference.  I don’t think technology is to blame, but I think it’s a huge factor.  Even ‘ol Eminem says it plainly in one of his popular songs he made with Rihanna, ‘Love the way you lie’.  Remember that song?  It went viral, after Rhianna was bludgeoned by her then boyfriend, as an anthem to those in abusive relationships.  The line I’m referring to is,

“You don’t get another chance

Life is no Nintendo game”

Kids don’t think like that much anymore.  They are too caught up in extra lives for their games that they are losing touch with reality, with life and how precious it really is.  Parents aren’t doing a good enough job instilling a sense of fear, of awareness, of responsibility, of knowledge, of love.  Parents are failing their kids.  I’m not perfect, I’ll never claim to be anywhere close to it, but at least I recognize what the real issue is – and haven’t you ever heard…it takes a village to raise a child.  If our village and our parents are flawed, what happens to our kids?

With respect,

The sadness in his eyes breaks my heart and when his smile doesn’t fully reach his eyes, one of the best parts of his smile, I know. I know something is wrong.  Still, I welcome him home after a long 12-hour shift and make his plate for dinner.  He has in tow a box of donuts for the kids’ breakfast in the morning, a bottle of my favorite wine, and a 4-pack of his favorite Dogfish beer (not a beer to take lightly with its 9% content).  These things don’t often happen, you see.  I can count on one hand how many mornings the children will have donuts for breakfast as it’s a very special occasion treat that we give them.  He mentions how The Little recently spoke fondly of his love for sprinkled donuts and there it was, that sadness in his eyes deeply rooted.

I made meatloaf for dinner, a favorite of his, and he eats it with an obvious heavy heart.  There are often times when his shifts do not go well, which I presume is the case for all EMTs and Paramedics, and sometimes I’m not sure I want to hear what tragedies he has had to endure.

He continues to eat and I ramble on and on about insignificant wifely and motherly duties I’ve done or dealt with throughout the day.  A typical Sunday for me, my biggest complaint is that of annoying children visiting ours for play-dates.  The television is on, more so in the background than for us to watch, but on the screen is a tribute to an actor who passed away this year and I see his eyes well up.  It’s alarming and breathtaking.  I’m nervous.  What could make him cry, especially since he doesn’t often do it?  In 20 years I’ve seen him cry only a couple handfuls of times.

I ask him what’s wrong and the pain I see on his face, deep in his eyes, shutters me to a stop and I know.  It’s a child.  Whatever horrible day he has had on his ambulance today, it involves a child.  He tells me it’s nothing, though we both know it’s a lie.  He tries to protect me from the horrible things that he sees knowing that my nerves/anxiety and irrational fears often cannot handle it.  I have to be strong, I have to be supportive.  He reminds me there are people with whom he can speak.  I find comfort, always, that he has a support team but today I can see he needs someone now.

I ask a few questions and slowly he begins to talk.  He goes through the last part of his shift, how he thinks he’ll be called in early, how he’s talking lightly to another medic who’s off today.  Then the call comes in.  It’s the worst kind of call and yes, it’s a child.  (I won’t go into details out of respect for the family and for my husband, but I will say the baby was not breathing when they got on scene and it’s a horrible accident that happened at their home)

The husband recalls the scene, what transpired, what he can see now that he’s left it, recounts things that maybe should have been done differently – though in truth there was nothing that could have been done to change the outcome.  He sobs and my heart shatters.  I cannot fathom this loss; I cannot understand the terror and hurt of not being able to bring back such a young life.  We cry together and I hold him tightly, words escape me.  There’s nothing I can say, there’s nothing I can do to soothe him.  It’s one of the most helpless feelings I’ve had in quite some time.  So I just cry as he cries and I pray.

I continue to pray for him while he tries to come to peace with what happened.  I pray for all of the first responders, for I cannot be more grateful of their gift and place on this earth.  I pray for the little one whose time ended entirely too soon, and for the family from whom the baby was taken.

This post, it may not mean anything to anyone, but this man, this husband of mine is one of the greatest souls I know.  We’ve been through some trying and very difficult times in our marriage and we’ve come out better because of them.  Nights like these remind me of how special a human being he is, how courageous and precious he is, and how very lucky I am to have him as a husband.  Being a wife of a first responder, an EMT in my case, is both prideful and heartbreaking.

Hey, Soul Sista!

As I mentioned in a post yesterday, we’ve moved.  It’s been a pretty eventful transition.  The very first day as we are unpacking the 26’ U-Haul that is packed to the rim of our accumulated crap (seriously we need to declutter), a neighbor approaches with a winning smile and even fancier gold tooth.  I wonder what he’s going to say as he approaches, you see, we’ve never experienced the type of hospitality we are experiencing in this new town.  They say southerners are nicer as a rule, but having lived in the Atlanta area all of my life with the exception of 2 years, I say it’s really a case by case basis.  The town from which we came, while only 20 miles away, was not filled with the southern hospitality love.

Mr. W with his million watt smile and his shining tooth comes to shake our hand.  He’s actually pretty awesome, we later find out, but he seemed perfectly nice when we first met him nonetheless.  He welcomes us to the neighborhood and gets our names, then jumps straight into the warnings of possible loud music that may or may not radiate from his home on special occasions.  You see, Mr. W has a professional karaoke machine, he explains.  He loves to shake it.  He loves people to come and have a good time.  He gives us details of every family within our little cul-de-sac that we live in, the goings on, the years they’ve been there, etc.  He’s chatty, and we like chatty.

He leaves and we get back to the task at hand.  A week passes, exactly, and I see car loads of people pulling up to Mr. W’s house.  A party, no doubt.  I see ladies in red hot pants, black leather pants, silky blouses, some in animal print dresses and gentlemen in purple, green, black, or gold slacks and some with tall hats and fancy walking canes.  It really looks like quite the event.  I watch the kids play with new friends and sip on my lovely little drink while rocking on my porch.  It’s a good day, I feel it.

The husband worked that day, but miraculously they ended his shift early so he gets to leave the station with enough time to hang out with us.  We’re standing outside, enjoying the sounds of kids laughing, when Mrs. W approaches us for an invitation.  ‘I know you’re coming over to sing’, she says.  HA! Me?  Sing?  I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.  She laughs, sweet as rain she is, and explains no one in the whole damn house can sing.  Then she closes the deal by mentioning the ample amount of flavored Jell-O shots and well, who can resist now?

We go and we are greeted like family.  I’ve only met Mr. and Mrs. W and their 15 yr-old grandson, but the extended hands, smiles, and even hugs from their family is awe-inspiring.  We fit right in.  We stand off to the side a bit as we have a lovely rendition of Whitney Houston going on.  Speakers the size of our youngest (The Little), 2 microphone stands, and more than 10,000 songs from which to choose.  It really is a professional system.  We’re consistently asked to make a request and get up there and sing, but I eye the tray of multi-colored Jell-O shots and decide to wait my turn.  Mmmmm, strawberry.  Who knew these would be so good?  The hubs sings Bob Seger and well, after a few yummy strawberry shots, I request some good ol’ CCR.

We go on for hours, all of their family and ours requesting and singing songs.  Booties are shaking and grooving, and trying to see how low one can go as the song requests of us.  It’s hilarious and fun and before I know it, it’s 2am.  After discovering I should not, indeed, try to find out how low I can go, I decide it’s time to find my shoes and walk back to the house.  I make it back and consider the tub after looking in the mirror and seeing my flushed face and strawberry stained lips.  I decide I’ll leave this look as reminder in the morning of the fun we had.

– A submission to the Studio30Plus prompt

Location, Location, Location

I’ve heard it’s all about ‘Location’.  What ‘it’ is and where that ‘location’ is, well that’s a secret unknown to me.  I’ve never claimed to have all the answers, or even how to find them.  I have, however, discovered recently that taking a bubble bath is quite a thought provoking adventure that leads to questions and sometimes answers.  It’s like all those popping bubbles whisper things, or maybe it’s just the wine.  I digress.

We recently moved…again…for the 3rd time in 17 or so years.  See, we were the stable parents living in the same place for years and then WHAM we’re pretending we’re gypsies with no firm roots to any one place.  That’s not true.  We really aren’t pretending.  I never claimed to be a great parent, either.  What’s with all this rambling today???  As I was trying to say…we moved.  It’s been an adjustment for us all, but much more positive than I thought it was going to be.

Maybe that, too, is a lie.  Maybe it’s not so positive that I’m deliriously giddy about the fact my kids are all scraped up.  Again, no claims on great parenting.  But they are in this condition because for the first time in their lives they are outside on bikes riding around with other kids more than they are inside watching TV or playing electronics.  It’s like they’re real kids.  Real kids who ride bikes.  Real kids who come in sweaty and gross from a day of play.  Real kids who laugh and fall down a lot.  Real kids who learned to ride a bike when they were little and haven’t been back on them at length again until now so they keep flailing around like little drunk bicyclers.  It’s pretty fucking awesome.

The lesson today kids is that Location really is everything.  The only trick is you just gotta find yours.  Hey! Didn’t I say I don’t have all the answers?

Book intimacy

Book Intimacy is a phrase I used the other day to The Eldest.  He’s approaching 16 years of age and as we all know, he knows everything.  As it is, he is actually very intelligent and the volume of useless, but fascinating, information he holds astonishes me.  Clearly he gets this from my side.  *Ahem*

Moving on. The Eldest is what one would consider tech-savvy.  Though I suppose most at his age are.  He’s just recently turned over his laptop, but he’s had one for years.  He has the newest Galaxy whatever phone.  He has an Xbox that the poor kid endured hours and hours of manual labor to earn enough money to buy.  He has memory cards and flash drives and who-ha’s out the wazzoo.  Clearly, he’s technical.  I should beam with satisfaction as my job is I.T. Coordinator, but truly all of this saddens me.

Why, you ask?  Because.  It sucks.  I know I exude my wide vocabulary and writing/speaking skills here, but in reality I’m well versed and learned from an early age the importance of little things such as grammar, spelling, eye-contact when speaking, general politeness, etc.  I fear this new technology ridden world and what it’s doing to children.

Hence the phrase I used with The Eldest the other day in a lengthy conversation.  He has been begging for a tablet or iPod touch for ages.  He has yet to receive either and will likely not receive them any time soon.  A snippet of the conversation went a little like this:

The Eldest: Mom, don’t you understand the copious amount of learning that I could do with a tablet?  Don’t you want that for me.  I only have two more years left in school.

Me: Copious?  You’re pulling out the big guns now.  And by the way, I hate to tell you that you have 3 years of high school and another 4 of college.  7.  You have 7 years of school.  You’re a sophomore this fall, it’s summer so that year still counts.

The Eldest: You knew what I meant, Mom.  *sigh* Ok, let’s work with this.  7 years, I can learn a lot in 7 years.  I can learn more from a tablet whose unyielding knowledge avenues are at my very fingertips.

Me: We have a library of information in our own home, 2 sets of encyclopedias, a home computer on which you can google to your hearts content.  Tell me where you would go to learn on a tablet that you could not do so at home or school.  Which is where you will primarily be for the next 7 years.

The Eldest: I could use it to read more.  I could download the Nook app and read more.  You always make us to read and this would make it so much easier.  I could read on trips in the backseat.  I could read anywhere I want.

Me: As a close to this conversation, I will say this.  You’ve made an excellent point, however it wasn’t strong enough to persuade me.  You have a phone which has internet allowing you to google as you need to.  You’re completely capable of carrying books with you which makes them as mobile as a tablet.  You need to learn book intimacy and then we’ll talk.

After a large set of sighs and a face palm he understood he wasn’t getting the blessed tablet and dropped it, for now.

To be honest, he almost won me over with his use of the word copious.